BMW calls for tighter security at Canadian ports to stem TBML

BMW Canada has told the independent Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia that more police are needed at Canadian ports to stem trade-based money laundering (TBML), which has involved the German motor manufacturer’s own luxury vehicles.

The inquiry was set up in response to widespread TBML through the export of luxury cars purchased from motor dealers in the Canadian province and sold to buyers in China (Trade Based Financial Crime, 24 May, 2019).

No dedicated police

“Canadian ports…do not have dedicated police presence, therefore resulting in a gap in law enforcement,” BMW’s representative Morgan Camley told the inquiry. Until 1997 when it was disbanded, Ports Canada Police was dedicated to port security.

Camley says the lack of dedicated police makes it more difficult for BMW to identify vehicles destined for unlawful export.

Straw buyers

The inquiry heard that BMW’s X5 and X7 models have been acquired by so-called straw buyers – people who are legally entitled to buy and claim tax refunds on cars in British Columbia on behalf of people who are not legally entitled to do these things.

Camley confirmed to the inquiry that it was in BMW’s best interests that TBML operations involving its vehicles were stemmed.

TBML impact

Apart from the reputational damage to its brand, the motor manufacturer’s pricing and marketing operations are compromised in TBML schemes according to Camley.

Asked by Cullen if it was in BMW’s interest to prevent foreign markets from being undercut, Camley confirmed this was the case but also took the position that BMW’s brand is being tarnished in British Columbia by its association with the TBML operations.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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